Friday, August 15, 2008

John McCain - a lobbyist's best friend

In the latest edition of Jim Hightower's The Hightower Lowdown, Jim takes aim at McCain's overpowering and monumental hypocrisy.

Far from being a "maverick," or a "straight talker," McCain walks hand-in-hand "with a coterie of lobbyists, executives, and fund-raisers who are shaping his policies and expecting to walk right into the White House with him."

Hightower explains that when McCain was forced to dump two "key operatives" back in May when they "were publicly fingered as lobbyists for the totalitarian military thugs who rule Burma," McCain's campaign went boldly on record with a "new internal ethics rule barring lobbyists from paid positions on the 'Straight Talk Express.'"

But that, says Hightower, was a "crock."

"The trick is that the new rule bars 'active' lobbyists from being 'paid' to work 'full time' on the staff." But the rule is full of loopholes. "Lobbyists can simply go on leave from their active influence peddling for a few months to work on the campaign ... they can work part-time for McCain's election while still lobbying up a storm; or they can take no pay from the campaign, working pro bono while being retained by their corporate clients."

The truth is that, even with the new rule, McCain has more than 100 lobbyists working for him!

Here's a few of the headliners:

Charlie Black, McCain's top dog. Black is boss of a "powerhouse lobbying outfit that represents a menagerie of special (and sometimes shady) interests." These include Blackwater, Lockheed Martin, AT&T, GM, GE, Rupert Murdoch and Philip Morris. "He's also been a hired gun for the heads of repressive regimes in Angola, Somalia, and Zaire."

Rick Davis. Davis was a White House aide to Ronald Reagan, and is now chairing McCain's campaign. "Davis built a lucrative lobbying business through his political ties, maintaining an especially close relationship with the Arizona senator...

Randy Scheunemann. Scheunemann is McCain's national-security adviser. He is "a noted neocon foreign-policy hawk." He founded the lobbying firm of Orion Strategies "which specializes in representing foreign governments including Taiwan, Macedonia, and the Republic of Georgia."

Wayne Berman. Berman is "one of America's favorite lobbyists," representing "such government favor-seekers as the Carlyle Group, Chevron, Shell, and various drug companies, Verizon, and, recently, Ameriquest (the notorious mortgage giant that was described by a consumer advocate as 'the most blatant and aggressive predatory lender out of everybody'').

Executives working for McCain include Carly Fiorina, the fired and disgraced HP boss; Meg Whitman, retired CEO of eBay whose policies clone those of G.W.; and Phil Gramm, [t]he sour old former senator from Texas [who] was renowned for his laissez-faire ideological extremism and for being an unabashed corporate whore during his 23-year career in Congress." Many people hold Gramm responsible for the recent banking meltdown as his policies of deregulation allowed the development of "exotic financial schemes that have led to America's mortgage collapse and the failure of major banks."

Hightower documents with probing pen that McCain is not only not a maverick, nor a straight-talker, but is essentially one with his corporate cronies. Even "the overall cast of his foreign-policy team is rigidly corporate."

But the worst is the fact that "Policy proponents for workers, consumers, the environment, small farmers, and other broad segments of America (the vast majority of us) are noticeably absent from his inner circle.

"If he is elected president, no doubt he would consider the needs of the larger public. But it appears that those needs would be submitted from us outsiders to an insider group that now resembles McCain Inc."

You can read the rest of the article and more insights from Jim Hightower here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder why the Obama side does not look into these things. I read today that McCain has managed to miss every vote re renewing the subsides for wind and solar, which expire this year. Without the subsidies, we will not jump start a renewable energy source that would provide jobs and power immediately. He is in favor of drilling which would produce nothing for years. It amazes me that the media does not look into these things. We already know these energy sources work but remain expensive due to start up. Does it cost less to build a refinery or an off shore derrick? These have been stalled for years, in spite of leases available for drilling NOW and record profits for the oil companies that have not been used to explore old leases. Why?????

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